Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
These days, insurance is a huge business. You can insure your house against theft, fire, flood, earthquake, lightning, locusts. You can insure your car, your computer, your data. You can get life insurance—or be more specific. Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey recently took out a massive insurance policy on his arm, while Taylor Swift has $40 million in ‘Leg insurance’.
What makes insurance such big business? People are really looking for security. And when we are honest, so are we. We want a future we can depend upon. Uncertainty racks our nerves and can keep us awake at nights. 48 percent of Americans report that they have some difficulty sleeping, and 60 million (22 percent) say it is a major problem. We are a nation of anxious people–and we are not alone in the world.
Rightly reflecting on Matthew 6 will help us live wisely during the day and help us sleep soundly at night. Jesus wants to make us the type of people who ‘laugh at the future’ (Proverbs 31:25) and are ‘as bold as a lion’ (Proverbs 28:1) He wants you to be able to stand against whatever comes, and to do so boldly. He wants you to have riches that remain when the stock market crashes or your pipes burst or your roof mildews or your transmission fails.
The key point of verses 22-24 is that we can only serve one master. Jesus then explains in 25-33 why the master we should choose to serve is God, and not money. He hammers home the point with eight reasons we can be free from worry and free from the anxiety of loss:
1) Life is about more than meeting the needs of the body. (25)
2) Logic #1–God provides for the birds–how much more will He then provide for you. (26)
3) Worry accomplishes nothing. (27)
4) Logic #2: God provides for the lilies–how much more will He then provide for you. (28-30)
5) To chase possessions is pagan in nature (31)
6) God as our Father already knows what we need. (32)
7) Heavenly priorities are primary–and if so ordered, the others will also follow (33)
8) Tomorrow’s trouble will wait! (34)
So we have eight solid reasons why not to worry in 2016.
That raises another question. How do we seek the heavenly kingdom that does not rust? There is one answer immediately in the text, which is that we display our changed life by not pursuing the things the pagans run after. (31) We are not to find our confidence in the number of insurance policies we take out, or how diversified our portfolio is. We are not to find our confidence in the size of our bank account or IRA or 401K. We are not to find our confidence in the in the amount of food in the pantry or the clothes we have in the closet, or the president that we have in office. God alone is our security. We are confident that he cares for us: “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up freely for us all, how will He not also, along with him, freely give us all things!” (Romans 8:32) We see Christ crucified for us—not on the basis of our deserving it—but in the greatness of His love to those who believe. That is the promise that the God of all the earth will care for you.
What are the practical actions that spring from this fundamental commitment to seek the kingdom of God? The answer is in found in the verses immediately prior, Matthew 6:1-18: giving, praying, fasting–in secret, not to be seen by men. These three disciplines are specific ways that we declare our trust in God as our provider in 2016. On the rock solid basis of God’s provision in Christ, we can serve him without fear for tomorrow. He is our God and he cares for us. Are you trusting Him? Look to Christ—His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in our weakness.